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Care center fined for resident's death

Nursing homes must remain constantly on guard to protect their residents against dangers that are unique to those facilities. Any neglect can have deadly consequences. The Illinois Department of Health recently fined a Springfield intermediate-care center $10,000 for the death of a 57-year-old man with Down Syndrome from a severe infection and for infections which also harmed three other residents.

The nursing home death occurred on February 1. Three other residents were also hospitalized for a sepsis infection. These infection cases were recorded in the center's health records between December and February.

The resident who died was transported to a hospital emergency department because he was suffering from coarse breathing and wheezing. Emergency department staff diagnosed him with extensive pneumonia. He later died in the intensive care unit from respiratory failure caused by the pneumonia, according to the health department. Three other residents were also taken to hospital emergency departments for medical treatment

When administering the fine, the health department alleged that the facility did not administer satisfactory and prompt medical attention to these residents. It also charged that nursing home personnel did not adequately record nursing assessments and failed to monitor residents for symptoms of infections.

The 99-bed facility is a not-for-profit center that treats men with developmental disabilities. It denied any wrongful conduct and is contesting the fine through the health department's administrative procedures.

Families who suffer the loss of a loved one from nursing home neglect may be entitled to compensation for damages. An attorney can help pursue a lawsuit against a nursing home that does not comply with legal standards or provide adequate medical care to residents.

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